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Town clerk £45k deal under fire

By Eleanor Perkins

Deal Town Council has come under more fire over the compensation deal for former town clerk Lin Dykes.

Town and district councillor Trevor Bond says the authority has not been transparent, and Chrissi Clifton, from the Deal Town Clerk Support Group, has joined in the criticism.

At the annual town meeting on Wednesday, Mrs Clifton, of Mary Road, Deal, asked councillors where a sum of £45,000, believed to have been paid out to Mrs Dykes, was on the financial report.

Since the departure of Mrs Dykes, Deal town councillors have said they were legally required not to comment.

Mrs Clifton said: “I understand the public have a right to know where our money is being spent.”

Members of the town clerk support group, which has 56 followers on Facebook, have studied the audits and are concerned they cannot find reference to the payout.

Mrs Clifton explained at the meeting people knew about the compensation, having read it in the Mercury. She added: “If you can hide this, what else can you hide?”

In response to Mrs Clifton, Deal Mayor Marlene Burnham said: “I am not commenting, for legal reasons.”

After the meeting, new town clerk Lorna Crow stressed that the council had behaved properly in the matter. She said: “I cannot comment, but I can assure the public the council are not acting illegally.”

Cllr Trevor Bond expressed his concern. He said: “The hiding of information from ratepayers such as legal fees over the leaving of the town clerk, is of concern to us all. What else are they hiding?

“It should be transparent, what they pay out. There’s no excuse for it. It should be shown on their accounts – it’s ratepayers’ money.”

Mrs Dykes left the town hall last September, claiming she was bullied, that there was sex discrimination and that she was regularly overworked.

Cllr Burnham and three other town councillors were named in a report of an appeal hearing, which was leaked to the Mercury. It is believed the sum of £45,000 was agreed between Mrs Dykes, and that the authority found the money from its reserves.

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